Student of the Week: Gabe El Youssef


Lukas Werner

“I just have an innate desire to learn, and no matter how hard the work is, I find that I’m always learning something,” junior Gabe El Youssef said.

Brooklyn Chillemi and Mia Kritzer

Junior Gabe El Youssef was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, which he calls the “best city in the world.” 

When El Youssef was in second grade, attending St. Therese Catholic School, he heard about La Salle from a friend, whose older siblings had attended the school. “From second grade, I always thought La Salle was the place to go,” El Youssef said. 

After shadowing at La Salle, “everyone seemed super friendly, [and] all of the teachers seemed really nice,” El Youssef said. “It’s everything I could have hoped for.” 

Now, El Youssef holds a 4.143 GPA, while balancing classes such as AP Biology, AP English 3, AP U.S. History, Catholic Moral Thinking & Catholic Social Teaching, Honors Spanish 3, Music Technology, and Pre-Calculus. 

El Youssef said that his most challenging class is AP Biology because there are a lot of new concepts and a heavy workload. However, he said that he still thinks it’s a “pretty fun class,” and that he is learning a lot. 

In order to manage his schoolwork, El Youssef’s strategy is to keep in mind that “it’s got to get done sometime, so why don’t I just do it as soon as possible,” he said. 

If El Youssef is feeling stressed, he makes a cup of tea — more specifically, lemon tea with honey — and watches YouTube, because to him, “the best thing to do when you’re stressed is to just take a break,” he said.

El Youssef’s favorite class this year is Music Technology, where he is learning about music production, composing songs, and “all the elements of music,” he said.

So far in this class, he has co-written a cover of “Mr. Blue Sky” by Electric Light Orchestra, as well as written a cover of “Another One” by Mac DeMarco.

“My favorite part of it has just been writing songs, and writing covers, and just seeing a finished product,” El Youssef said. 

He also learned how to play the drums over quarantine, and has been recording music in his free time. 

El Youssef said his biggest strength in his schoolwork is his curiosity. “I just have an innate desire to learn, and no matter how hard the work is, I find that I’m always learning something, and that’s just the fantastic thing about being in school,” he said. 

Outside of his classes, El Youssef participates in the Speech and Debate team, which he has been a part of since his freshman year. The team meets through Zoom once a week on Tuesdays to practice. 

Alongside the practices, the team has about eight tournaments per year including the district and state competitions. These tournaments are currently held virtually on a website called Tabroom, where students can participate in debates in a webcam setup that is similar to Zoom. 

During the tournaments, El Youssef participates in the radio commentary event, where competitors give a written speech talking about current events, “as if you were on a radio show,” he said. For example, during his freshman year, El Youssef gave a speech on why we should build a moonbase. 

El Youssef also participates in parliamentary debates for the team, which are two vs. two, where neither side knows the topic until entering the debate. “You just go back and forth, arguing affirmative and negative,” he said. 

As for where El Youssef wants to be after high school, he has been on the Oregon State University campus a few times, and “I’ve done a lot of research too, it’s like the number two friendliest college town in the entire country,” he said. “It’s a pretty cool place to be.”

At OSU, El Youssef plans on going into pre-pharmacy so he can get his Doctor of Pharmacy, and later in life become a pharmacist.

This is a stark contrast to what El Youssef wanted to do when he was a freshman, which was to become an actor.  “[Before], I really wanted to be recognized and famous,” El Youssef said. “But now I just feel like I just want to do what I love… I don’t want to be famous to the whole world, I just want to be as good of a person I can be to the people I know and the people in my community.”